Ottawa - The Conference Board of Canada’s Help-Wanted Index rose five points in December 2013. The Index now stands three points higher than a year ago. December’s index gain suggests that there are brighter days ahead for the labour market. Still, employment is expected to grow at only a moderate pace in the coming months. The index suggests that the labour market will add only 12,000 jobs in the first month of 2014.
At the provincial level, all provinces except Manitoba saw their indexes increase in December. Manitoba's index fell 2.4 points -- the seventh monthly decline for the index in 2013. Saskatchewan’s index posted the largest gain, increasing 27.9 points.
British Columbia’s index was up 10.9 points in December, more than offsetting the previous month’s decline. Alberta’s index rose 3.5 points -- its fifth consecutive gain.
Central Canada, Ontario’s index increased 6.7 points -- its fifth consecutive gain. Employment followed an upward trend in Ontario last year, and the index suggests that the trend will continue in the near term.
Quebec’s index edged up 1.3 points in December -- its second consecutive gain.
In Atlantic Canada, Prince Edward Island led the way with an index gain of 10.9 points. Nova Scotia’s index increased 3.6 points -- its fourth consecutive gain. New Brunswick’s index rose three points, and Newfoundland and Labrador’s index edged up 0.9 points.
Regionally, job prospects were positive in five of the eight cities in Western Canada, in seven of the 11 Ontario census metropolitan areas and two of the five Quebec metropolitan areas, and in all three metropolitan areas in Atlantic Canada. Only two cities, Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo and Edmonton, had negative job prospects.